b. The basic concept of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.
As we know, the famous theory of cognitive development was found by Jean Piaget. He was born in 1896 (Newkirk, 2009). Newkirk also mentioned that Piaget was a theorists and also a biologist. Besides,the author reported that Piaget did observing his own children and attracted to changes that occured and developed in children’s mind and the factors behind these changes. In addition, Gartrell (2011) also stated that Piaget’s method by questioning the children is called as clinical method. Children started to develop their understanding through their surrounding based on four stages of cognitive development. As mentioned by Gartrell the stages are the sensorimotor stage, preoperational stage, concrete operational stage and lastly formal operations stage.
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The first stage is sensorimotor stage which starts when the babies were born until age of 2 years old while second stage starts around the age of 2 to 7 years (Santrock, 2011). The author also claimed about the other stages, that are the third stage, concrete operational stage which lasts from 7 until 11 or 12 years old and lastly moving to the fourth stage is formal operations stage. Compared to the other three stages earlier which involving babies and children, this last stage is involving with the adolescence and adulthood. This is the highest stage in cognitive development because this is where a person can make such reasoning and hypothesis (Santrock, 2011) for example, not only concrete events but also towards abstract events such as feelings or inferencing scientific experiments.
Furthermore, Santrock (2011) proposed that there are two basic tendencies that will go together with these four stages, which are organization and adaption. Ormrod (2011) stated that organization is possibility of a person to handle their process of thinking. It is also called as schemes which means the building block of intelligent behavior. Next, adaption is the process of an individual to adapt to the environment (Ormrod, 2011). In the same way, Ormrod stated that there are two basic processes in adaption which are assimilation and accommodation.
According to Krause, Bochner and Duchesne, cognition is the mental processes involved in perceiving, attending to, understanding and recalling information’ (2007, p43). Piaget’s theory of cognitive is underline into the consciousness of mind and thinking. As children are developing, their way of thinking started to change from time to time accordingly to the four stages. Piaget was not really interested into the knowledge having by the children but he was more fascinated by the way of children think, observe their surrounding and how they express it into speeches (Krause et al., 2007). The authors too found that Piaget and his theory are important because he is the first theorists that came out with such theory about development of children from the aspect of cognitive and his idea is still be using untill now even though it has been years.
c. Discuss how the Piaget’s theory apply to child development.
Self development is very important in children’s life because it develop in them while they are growing up. In Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, he focused of four stages of children development that are, sensorimotor stage as the first, secondly is preoperational stage, next concrete operational stage and last but not least formal operations stage.
As explained earlier, sensorimotor stage is occured from the birth untill the age of 2 years. According to Krause et al.,(2007), infants in this stage will begin to develope their reflexes by doing some motor activities and senses. They are trying to understand the world around them. For example, infants will show happy expression or laughing when we are teasing and cuddling with them, this shows that infants started to make sense things around them but with limited abilities because it is only based on what they get through their senses. In sensorimotor, there are sub-stages that divided into 6 categories, that are reflexes, primary circular reactions, secondary circular reactions, coordination of reactions, tertiary circular reactions and early representional thought (Brenda, 2010). The first sub-stage is reflexes, according to Brenda (2010) this sub-stage is occured from the birth of the infants until 1 month old. During this stage, infants understand their surrounding by using simple reflexes for example they will starting to smile. Next, primary circular reactions sub-stage is when the infants are 1 to 4 months. Variety of actions will be perform. For instance, infants are sucking his or her thumb, and as a result they will repeat the same actions because it pleasure them. As it goes on, third sub-stage is secondary circular reactions which occured during 4 to 8 months. Brenda (2010) mentioned in this sub-stage, the infants will be doing the same actions but it extends out to the environment such as replacing sucking their thumbs with rubber toys. In other words the infants are having improvement in their reactions. Moreover, in fourth sub-stage which is coordination of reactions from the age of 8 to 12 months. They will begin to show clear actions and observe others behavior other than starting to develop ability in recognizing the things that had been shown to them. As example, instead of sucking thumb, infants will replace it with their toys. They may squeeze their rubber toys, when it goes “mooo mooo”, they will get excited and squeeze it again. Krause et al.,(2007) proposed that the infants also will understand that their toys are exist even though they cannot be seen or touch it or called it as “object permanance”. For example, a doll at first was played by infant, when we put and hide it under blanket the infant will be able to look for it. Infants who do not reach this sub-stage will not be able to look for it, but they will just not realize it. As the infants are growing up to become toddlers, the sub-stages also moving to the next, tertiary secular reactions where occured during toddler age 12 to 18 months. This is the time where toddlers will learn the concept of trial-error experiments with the purpose of getting attention (Brenda, 2010). Specifically, one of the activity might be doing by toddlers is hitting fork and spoon on the dining table, just to know what will happen, what sound will come out, and what are the reactions they will get from others. Krause et al. called this process as ‘goal-directed or intentional action’ (2007, p46). Last but not least sub-stage is early representional talk, from the toddlers at age of 18 until 24 months old (Krause et al., 2007). Based on the authors, this last sub-stage is where we can see the toddlers start to imitate others. During this stage, people around them need to be careful and only if possible showing them the good side especially their parents. This is because since parents are the closest people in toddlers life, they will observe what their parents are doing. For example, if the mothers usually sweeping the house at the morning, the toddlers will observe it and will do the same action of sweeping the house even though it is without the broom. As I experienced this too, during my visits to my auntie’s home, she has a 19 months old toddlers. I realized that her child keep following my way of reading magazines and drinking coffee from my mug. Even though the objects are not with the baby, but she followed my actions. In my opinion, parents need to get close with toddler to help their growth and try to play game with them such as peek-a-boo game because this will help the children to strenghten their “object-permanance” ability and moving to the next stages as Piaget had observed.
The second stage that apply to child development is preoperational stage, which occured within the age of 2 to 7 years old. Newkirk (2009) proposed that children in this stage will develop from several aspects. They will be more capable in the usage of language skills for instance they can explain the objects by replacing it with pictures or words. But they still not be able to speak like adult, they can at least use one or two-words sentences to delivered messages. According to Newkirk, imagination level of children in this stage will usually increase and they are more curious to all things instead of being logical. Unlikely the first stage, in this second stage children will spend more of their time by putting role while they are playing. For instance, children always pretend a box is a house for them to shelter. Even myself experienced that during my childhood. I built my so-called ‘home’ by using boxes and I create my own ‘family members’ using my dolls to stay in that house, I even pretend cooked meals for my ‘family’. This prove that children’s imagination during this stage is very high but they still need supervision from parents in case they are exposed to unappropriate elements. Krause et al. (2007) noted that there are three main characteristics of preoperational stage which are egocentrism, centration and animism. The author define egocentric as the person who is unable to share another person’s idea or view because the person considered that all view are the same with he or she. Piaget’s had done with the Three Mountain Tasks model experiments, and as the result the children expects that the person on other side of the model is seeing the same view as them (Krause et al., 2007). Next is centration, the authors described the meaning as the children focus on one feature of problems while ignoring other features. For example, children will not understand if we tell them “Your sister is my daughter” because their ability is limited. Moving on, the last characteristic is animism. In this characteristic, the authors claimed that children belief that all things have lives. They considered inanimate objects have emotions and feelings like them. For example, a girl who age 3 years old always talk with her teddy bear as the teddy bear is alive and answers her.
Piaget’s third stage in child development is concrete operational stage which is from the age of 7 to 11 years (Santrock, 2011). During this stage, children are able to logically think about the concrete events and starting to eliminate their egocentrism which means they started to learn to view other’s perspective too. Even though they are getting capable in the usage of logic but they still having the difficulty in understanding the hypothetical concepts (Krause et al., 2007). The authors also claimed that there are several processes in this stage that involve in child development, that are reversibility where the children have the ability to think about the reverse event such as in mathematical solving problems where they need to add and subtract and add it back, secondly is seriation which menas the ability to mentally put things in order according to its features for example size, weight, and height. Next is compensation, where the children have the ability see that something is increase because of something is decrease such as the height is increasing because of the width s decreasing and vice versa. Besides, the fourth is classficiation which means the ability that children have to name and identify the sets or group of the objects by its features such as size, colours and appearance. Class inclusion is the fifth processes mentioned by the authors which bring the meaning of ability to understand that a small amount of groups can be combine to form a large group as Krause et al. called it as ‘multiple classification’ (2007, p53). For example a car can be include into it’s brand name such as Proton or under large group of vehicles. Last but not least the processes found by Krause et al. (2007) is conservation, whereby children at last know that quantities, or lenghts are not related at all to the arrangement or appearance of the things. For example, a child is presented with two same sized of bowls filled with flour, but when one of the full bowl flour is pour into jar with different sized he and she or he will still know that the quantity of the flour is the same either it is in bowl or jar.
Lastly, the fourth stages in Piagetian is formal operations which occur to 11 years old children and beyond (Santrock, 2011). As we can see, this is the highest level of child development in Piaget’s theory as it goes until our adulthood. Santrock stated that in this stages people continue to develop ability of thinking with presence of abstract concept. Logically, children begin to take notes about the possibility of the consequences of every events they experienced and also started to think in a formal way. Besides, Krause et al. (2007) suggested that children in this stage are already know how to use deductive and inductive reasoning. As the author define deductive reasoning as the potentiality of children to use a general principle to determine a specific outcome, on the other hand inductive reasoning is using and observing specific outcome to include general principles. In this final stage also children will develop their problem solving activities. When entering adoloscence, they are able to do systematic planning in their life and also make a hypothesis, inference far better than stages before (Brenda, 2010). Overall, that are the four stages that involve in child development until adolescence.
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d. Discuss how the Piaget’s theory apply children in preschool and early primary levels.
Preschool children are basically who are still develop their cognitive abilities in stage two, preoperational. As stated by Krause et al. (2007) regarding applying Piaget’s theory into preschoolchildren who are still in stage two, there will be at least two parties that involved in helping to apply this cognitive theory to children firstly parents, secondly educators or teachers.Moreover, by introduce to children this concept means we are letting them to be independent and explore their world by themselves.
Preschool children who are basically age between 4 to 6 years are in preoperaional stage. As I explained in previous sub-questions, children in this stage has become more capable in obtaining language skills and using it to represent objects but still limited because they cannot reached the events where explanation need to relate with concrete logic. Firstly as parents, they must give freedom to their children especially preschool children to play with their friends since children in this stage will spent more of their time with playing (Krause et al., 2007). Nowadays, majority of parents always having misconceptions, they think that they cannot let their children play too much, in fact they should not too strict in controlling their children. What parents should do is by letting their children play with their friends but make sure to supervision who are their friends. Logically, according to Krause et al., by giving children chance to play, they will explored their world while interacting with friends (2007). Create a safe-mode place for them to play so that they feels your attention towards them, during this process children will encounter some problems. This is the right time to let them be independence by solving their problems but with supervision. Even though at first they might not really capable in solving it but it will be better as they go through this process and get knowledge from what we called as hands-on experiences (Krause et al., 2007). Besides, Ormrod suggested that parents should always communicate with their children especially who are in this stage. This is because children may feel left out if their parents are too busy and even do not have time to spend with them. In other way, this also a good opportunities to increas the level of self-esteem of the children.
On the other hand, teachers also play an important role in applying preoperational stage towards preschool children. Newkirk found out that since children during this stage will usually be in egocentrism state, they do not realize about other perspectives (2009). So, as a teacher need to know how to handle this situation for example letting the children having conversation with the peers in class will enhance their understanding of others’ world or teachers can create a questions and answers session with the preschool students. The purpose of doing that is because to increase the self esteem of children and to let them hear others views too so that their level of egocentrism can be decrease. As an educators,creactivity is needed to attract preschool children in learning such as by using visual aids to stimulate the children’s mind (Newkirk, 2009). Examples of visual aids are like bringing props such as the real fruits if teachers want to teach about type of fruits in class. After finished teaching, teachers can serve the students with the fruits, and let them have the hands-on experience. The author also did mentioned that in order to develop preoperational stage between the children, use things that are different for examples cue cards written words and ask them to create sentences based on cards that they have or teachers can ask the preschool students to work in a group. In addition, interactions with peers will help the preschool children to improve their cognitive development or it is called as disequilibrium (Ormrod, 2011). Why talking with peers can help the children? This is because, logically the children and peers are at the same age level, so they can be more understanding between their group.
How can we know if the children are applying preoperation stage in their cognitive development? Krause et al. (2007) described that the development at each cognitive stages is called as milestones. In this preoperational stage, Krause et al. also reported the children’s milestones development is from the aspect of thinking and language skill whereby they know to replace objects with drawing, words or gestures. As for instance, when children are at shopping mall, they are able to tell their parents by pointing to the things that attract them such as toys and dolls. Besides children also learnt to produce sound for example while they are playing with their soldier toys, they can make sound like “dush dush” to indicate the soldier toys they are playing with are fighting. In contrast, children who do not develop well in this stage will no be able to differentiate between the living things and inanimate objects. For example, they are treating the real cats and cat doll the same as both have feelings, emotions and know how to feel hungry whereas only the living things can feel all that.
In a nutshell, children will reached each stages when the readiness come and they still need to be taught to guide to the right path. Krause et al. (2007) did proposed that teachers and parents should not teach their children the highest level of stages if it is not the right time by means the children are just not ready yet.
In conclusion, I agreed with propose suggested by Ormrod (2011), Piaget’s theory have its own benefits and disadvantegous. As Piaget’s idea was the first to talk about cognitive development among children, his idea is the famous one and still be used even until today. In my opinion, Piaget’s theory had changed people’s view about children development. Even though as reported by Newkirk (2009), children development are not always moving from each stage according to the age that Piaget’s planned, but they still will moving according to the stage either it is fast or late. Last but not least, implementation of cognitive theory in children development is very effective as it will be very helpful towards the children themselves as this theory help to influence children in the aspects of biological maturation, activities, social experiences and equilibration.
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